Archive | Kevin’s Blog

Why Don’t Conducting Books Talk About The Music?

Riccardo_MutiWell, actually, some do.  I am reminded of Riccardo Muti’s truly insightful commentary in a podcast he did with British music journalist, Norman Lebrecht, in September 2011 (worth tracking down if it is still available on the BBC) wherein the maestro laments the prediliction in the USA toward training aspiring conductors how to ‘conduct the music’ as opposed to how to ‘study the music’.  I’m paraphrasing, but in essence this is the point he makes.

I am reminded of this as I have just finished reading several recently published new books on conducting by American conductors.  One was largely a memoir which I found mostly disingenuous; far too preoccupied with lauding the virtues of a much better known American conductor, and the other, offering an alternative approach to technical aspects of conducting distilled through the concept of ‘beauty’ in music.  The latter book has one or two genuine insights in what otherwise is a slim volume with little to offer.  Worse however than its over concision, is that some of what is espoused in respect to the physics pertaining to gestural motion in orchestral conducting technique is plain wrong. Continue Reading →

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Fundamental Differences Between Theatre & Classical Music

Cast_Photo_TSFS

CAST FOR INDUSTRY PRESENTATIONS NYC, SEPT. 25

I find it remarkable sometimes how time slips away unnoticed even though you are vaguely aware that some things have gone on far too long whereas other matters, of real importance, appear to vanish hardly before they’ve started.

I have been in NYC on this umpteenth sojourn now for over 7 weeks whilst working on The Stranger from Seville musical written with long-time collaborator, Victor Kazan. At the same time, I have been learning Kurt Atterberg’s Symphony No. 3 for an upcoming concert with the Australian Discovery Orchestra later this month.

The preparation for industry backer audition readings for new musicals in New York is a gruelling process – arduous for everyone involved – including the stupendous cast put together by Stephanie Klapper Casting.  How many actor/singers in the  photo above can you recognize and name?

Time on this project just vanished from when we started four weeks ago up to the day of presentations on Sept. 25 but it culminated in fabulous performances skillfully and sensitively directed by Martin Platt (Dir.) and Matt Castle (Mus. Dir.).

The process of ‘prepping’ readings and workshops for new musicals is so widely divergent from prepping orchestras for performance and recordings that some observations and comparisons might make interesting reading to those of you who follow this blog.  Well, that’s my hope anyway. Continue Reading →

Streaming Ahead?

StreamingI really do love reading the British trade mag. Classical Music over coffee of a morning once a month or so if only to digest, in that inimitable style only the British can muster, what’s happening in Classical Music and Opera in the UK.

Interesting to note that the Mark Allen Group has bought out this title along with Rhinegold Publishing in recent days.  This is potentially not a good thing in terms of editorial independence, but that’s a subject for a different day.

I’m also somewhat fascinated by the ‘infotorials’ disguised under the banner of ‘guest editing’ in the August edition about music streaming and its growing impact on the classical music sector.  Provided by industry insiders (I have no wish to mention them by name) I can’t quite throw off the feeling I am being conned.

That said, if you want to track down this edition of the magazine, do take careful note of what Becky Lees (Head of LSO Live) and Alexander Van Ingen (CE of The Academy of Ancient Music) have to say; being both insightful, grounded, if not direct and unapologetic.  The rest, however, suffers from a lack of balanced reporting.  There are some vested interests in play. Continue Reading →